Looking back at the time when I was a Mamaroneck High School student and lived in Larchmont, there is one thing I remember about my postman: He was a very friendly man who always carried a smile on his face.
His name was Stephen Spina, and he was killed in his Mamaroneck apartment on September 17, 2007. Nine months ago, I was shocked and saddened to read about his death. I had recently moved back to the area and found a Crime Stoppers reward notice posted at every local police department.
Despite the brutal way in which his life came to an end, Spina's bright smile has lived through the past three years, and it will be remembered by the community once again this week, when the second annual Stephen Spina Softball Classic is held at Harbor Island Park on July 17 and 18 (with July 31 and August 1 rain dates).
"One of the reasons that we keep this alive is to keep his memory alive, and to keep things going," said close friend and co-organizer John Boisitz. "He was a great guy and a great friend…It's mind boggling to me that this could even happen."
Spina's killer has not been found, and an additional motivation behind the event is to add to a reward fund "so hopefully we can find his killer," said Spina's sister, Christine Foley.
The softball classic is organized by friends and family of the beloved Larchmont postal worker. It will begin at 9 a.m. on both days, and will feature a men's division and a co-ed division softball tournament on Saturday, and a championship on Sunday. Each team is asked to pay $300 to play. There will also be a raffle and t-shirts, bracelets and can koozies for sale. A barbecue, snacks and drinks will be available, and those interested in further contributing to the Stephen Spina Memorial Fund can do so at the event or by mailing their donation to 200 Fulton Rd., Mamaroneck, NY 10543.
Spina was 36 years old at the time he was stabbed to death in his Richbell Road apartment.
He was an umpire with the Larchmont Little League for a decade, a Larchmont postal worker for 12 years, and the father of a young girl named Skyler, who is now 15. He has also been described as a "passionate" baseball player. In the words of his sister Christine, he was a "great brother, a great friend and a great dad. I know that if this happened to anyone else in our family or to any of this friends he would be doing exactly what we are doing for him."
Currently, New York State Crime Stoppers offers a reward of up to $12,500 for information leading up to the arrest and conviction of Spina's killer. Out of this sum, $10,000 was raised by Spina's family and friends, and the rest was provided by Crime Stoppers, said Boisitz. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-866- 313-TIPS (callers may remain anonymous).
"After they find the person, we plan on keeping this memorial fund going and providing scholarships for kids who can't attend day camps," said Boisitz. "We are trying to work out something with the high school for graduating seniors who umpired through Little League and provide them with money to go to college with."
Those sponsoring the event are: Brendan O'Brien Carpentry, EGB Consultants, Larchmont-Mamaroneck Patch, the Muratore Family and Spedafino Tax Services from Mamaroneck; Anthony's Bar & Grill from Harrison; Skillman Dental Centers from Queens; and Friends of Stephen Spina.